By Guest Author, Carol Myers
Andrea Schilling, a Support Specialist at the Women’s and Children’s Alliance, is a graduate from Northwest Nazarene University with a degree in Journalism and Political Science. Andrea is one of the first people you will meet upon entering the facility. Her kindness, optimism and delight for life are contagious.
As a resident of the North End neighborhood, she would drive past the WCA every day on the way home from her previous job. Sparking curiosity, this young graduate researched the WCA, instantly fell in love, and waited eight months for her current job to become available. After two years in this position, Andrea shares why this job is important to her and why she is so grateful for the many aspects of safety, healing and freedom the WCA provides to people in crisis situations.
As Editor in Chief for the NNU newspaper and reporting intern for a local newspaper while she was in college, Andrea said it was very unnatural for her to write from an unbiased and unemotional position. She knew she was meant for something different. After college, she began looking for a job where she could use her skills to help others, and set out to get behind a cause she earnestly believed in. Andrea is passionate about human rights and “giving voices to people who haven’t been heard”. To her, the WCA was a perfect fit, and still is today.
Andrea serves as one of the WCA’s Support Specialists, which means she is also one of the women running the front desk operations. Whether a person is calling the agency or coming through the front doors, Andrea determines where they should go for the correct help, and then connecting them to the appropriate staff person in the Crisis Center. She also works with the Communications Manager using her graphic design skills, the Deputy Director for grant month-end reports and submissions, and Accounts Payable.
When asked about the hours she works, Andrea said her job doesn’t end at 5 p.m. She likes to share the work that the WCA does with anyone she meets and she’s always looking for new fundraising opportunities. She was instrumental in connecting the WCA with 94.9 The River’s “Concert for Cause,” a now yearly event benefiting the WCA, at the Knitting Factory. In December 2013, proceeds from the live and silent auction totaled more than $23,000!
Another aspect of Andrea’s position is accepting donations. She said she “sees a renewing of hope that there are good people in this world,” from the gifts donated to the WCA. Having grown up in Portland, she is proud to live in Boise now. She enjoys supporting local businesses and sees first-hand the benefits of our community working together to help each other. The smile on her face is a mile wide while she is speaking of the kindness of our Boise community and the children who give all their lemonade stand earnings or everything in their piggy banks to the WCA. She also likes when local businesses get involved and have special days where they donate a portion of their sales to the agency. At some community events the WCA will have a booth to bring awareness to the community.
The WCA is a place to go for help that provides safety, healing and freedom to people in crisis situations. Andrea’s friends have asked her if this is a hard job, if it’s difficult to see people enter the doors in a crisis situation. Andrea, with her sweet demeanor and kindness flips the coin around and says she prefers choosing to “focus on the great things the team of workers at the WCA are doing” and is often reminded of her thankfulness places like the WCA exist. She’s one of the first people you will see walking into the WCA and she is also the one you will see when you’re leaving. When asked what she likes best about working for the agency, Andrea said, “seeing positive transformations in WCA clients – sometimes I get goose bumps”. Andrea had wanted to work for a non-profit organization that had “meaning and a purpose,” for a long time, and today considers it an honor to work for the WCA.
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